How To Get Your First Publication In A Magazine

I’ve always been a lover of magazines. I love the way they look and feel, but more than that, I love the way they work. Magazines are fundamentally about telling a story albeit, often in a highly condensed and abbreviated form. They’re also dynamic: 

As you move through them from cover to cover, you get an ongoing sense of how the magazine is going to unfold. And yet at the same time, each piece retains its integrity and identity; it doesn’t just become part of some big amorphous mass.

As someone who loves both reading and writing, this all sounds like heaven on earth for me! But how can you make your dreams come true by becoming published in a magazine? Well, let’s break down exactly what that means.

How to Get Published in a Magazine – YouTube
Research target magazines: Identify reputable magazines that align with your writing style and niche. Look for submission guidelines and understand their audience.
Craft a compelling pitch: Create a well-written and unique pitch that showcases your expertise and the relevance of your story to the magazine’s readership.
Follow submission guidelines: Adhere to the magazine’s specific requirements regarding format, word count, and submission process. Pay attention to deadlines.
Be persistent and patient: Getting published may take time and multiple attempts. Don’t get discouraged by rejections; keep refining your pitches and trying new angles.
Network and build connections: Attend writing events, join writing communities, and connect with editors or writers in the industry to gain insights and potential opportunities.

Start With Small Magazines

You may be tempted to try and get into a major publication, but it’s best to start small. There are many reasons for this:

Smaller magazines are easier to get published in. The smaller the publication, the more likely you’ll be able to get your work in front of an editor’s eyes. 

If you aim too high and miss, you’ve essentially wasted all your time and effort. With a bigger magazine (or even a small one), there will be many more submissions competing for each slot available and that means fewer slots filled by yours truly!

You can build relationships with editors at small publications. This is certainly true if you’re trying to make your way up from interning at the bottom rungs of journalism or publishing houses into full-time positions later on down the road.

Building strong relationships with editors now will help ensure they remember who they liked working with when it comes time for promotions or job openings!

You can learn what works (and what doesn’t) as far as pitching goes through feedback provided by an editor who’s reading each submission thoroughly enough that they’ll offer comments back instead of just saying “no thanks”. 

These comments might include suggestions about how something could have been better phrased or maybe even which aspects need changing entirely before sending out again because they didn’t adhere closely enough

Finding the right magazines to submit your articles can significantly impact your success as a writer. Check out our list of 15 Great Magazines for Article Submissions to discover potential publication opportunities and reach a broader audience.

Focus On Your Style

Being yourself is the most important piece of advice I can give you. It’s so easy to get caught up in the idea that we have to be someone else, or something else.

Don’t try to be anyone else but yourself! Write about your own experiences and what you know about the world around you. Use your voice don’t try to write like anyone else just because they’re successful writers already out there doing it. Be honest and authentic in everything you do, even if it means being vulnerable with your words.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from my time in this industry so far is that there are no shortcuts when it comes to getting published; the only way is hard work and dedication (and maybe some luck). But don’t let that intimidate you you can do it!

Look For Niche Magazines

Now that you have a list of magazines, it’s time to narrow them down. The first thing to mention is that it’s not necessary to try and get published in all three magazines at once. It’s far more realistic and lucrative to focus on just one or two at a time until they accept your work. 

Once you’ve written an accepted article for one magazine, ask if they would like more content by the same author in future issues.

Once you’ve sent out your query letters and received responses from the editors, take some time to think about what type of publication is ideal for your writing style and voice (or multiple voices). 

You may find yourself drawn toward one particular genre over another; this can help guide your decision-making process when considering whether or not a particular magazine might be interested in running your articles. If you’re struggling with narrowing down which publications are right for you, consider these things:

  • Does this publication resonate with my interests?
  • Does this publication resonate with my style?
  • What other publications does this author write for?

Embarking on a career in magazine writing can be both exciting and challenging. If you’re wondering how to get started, our comprehensive guide on How to Start a Career Writing for Magazines will provide you with valuable insights and tips to kickstart your journey.

Explore Different Media

To get your first publication in a magazine, you need to start at the bottom and work your way up. The first step is finding a place to publish, which can be difficult if you haven’t done it before and don’t know anyone who has. 

If you already know someone who publishes, contact them directly, but if not, there are some general guidelines for getting published that may help:

Try writing for different media outlets. It’s important to find out what type of writing works best for each outlet before submitting anything because each type of publication has its style, editor preferences, and audience expectations. 

For example, one magazine might prefer humorous articles while another might prefer serious ones but both may still accept humor as long as it’s written well enough!

Write in different styles/genres or forms (e.g., poetry vs prose). In addition to knowing how much detail is appropriate for each topic depending on format (poems vs essays), it also helps if writers learn about editing styles used by editors from other fields like novels or short stories versus nonfiction articles; this will help ensure quality control when submitting work!

Create Your Magazine, And Distribute It To Other Outlets As Well

If you want to get your work in a printed magazine, the best way is to create your own. This can be a great way to get your name out there and establish yourself as an expert in your field. It can also be a good way to promote other projects that you’re working on, as well as earn some extra income on the side.

You’ll need to find other outlets that might be interested in publishing this content (think: online magazines, local newspapers), but if you’ve already created something unique and interesting, then it shouldn’t be too hard!

Getting your first publication in a magazine can be a significant milestone for any writer. Learn valuable strategies and tactics to achieve this goal with our insightful article on How to Get Your First Publication in a Magazine and boost your writing career.

Send In A Proposal, Rather Than A Finished Article

Sending in a proposal is more likely to get you published than sending in an unsolicited article. This might sound counterintuitive, but it’s true!

Unsolicited articles are often rejected because they’re harder to edit and less likely to be relevant to the magazine’s target audience. That’s why editors prefer that you submit a specific idea for an article first, rather than sending over your finished product straight away. 

Proposals also give them time to ask you questions about what kind of article you’re proposing, how long it’ll take to finish (and whether or not the topic would be worth their time), and any other details that could help them decide whether or not they want your article on their magazine’s table of contents.

Send In A Sample Of Your Work When You Write To Editors

When you’re sending in a query letter, it’s important to remember that editors are looking for someone who can do more than just write an article. They want writers who can also write a great headline, lead, and conclusion.

To do this, you’ll need to show them that you have what it takes by writing these things yourself. If an editor is interested in your topic, but not in your writing ability (or vice versa), they will probably pass on your query letter without even giving it a second glance at the bottom of their inbox.

The good news? This task isn’t as intimidating as it sounds! To prove yourself worthy of being published on the pages of some of today’s top magazines and journals as well as tomorrow’s all you’ll need is:

Be Realistic About Deadlines And Budgets

You need to be realistic about deadlines and budgets. If you are working on a tight deadline, do not expect the magazine to agree to extend it for you. It’s their magazine and they will want to maintain a schedule.

Similarly, if the publication is offering you little money for the feature or article that you have been commissioned for, don’t expect them to suddenly increase it once your work is complete. 

There are many factors at play here including how much money they think your article/feature will bring in (and how much commission), how long it took for them to accept/approve your pitch in the first place (usually around two weeks), as well as any other commitments they may be facing financially at that time.

I would suggest being willing to negotiate deadlines – especially if they seem unrealistic – but don’t push too hard with negotiations on a budget unless it means something personal: such as one’s ability or right live off of writing alone

Breaking into the world of freelance magazine writing requires determination and know-how. Check out our essential tips and tricks in How to Break into Freelance Magazine Writing and start your journey towards becoming a successful freelance writer.

Become Familiar With The Editorial Policy

It may seem obvious, but before you submit your work to a publication, make sure you’re familiar with its editorial policy.

If possible, read the magazine itself. You don’t need to become an expert just be able to tell whether the type of content printed in it is something that would interest you. Check out their website and social media channels as well: these will give a good indication of what kind of content they publish regularly.

Once you’ve got this information under your belt, talk to people who work there! Ask them about their editorial policy – hopefully, they’ll be happy to answer your questions and give some insight into what types of pieces have been successful in the past (and which haven’t). 

You can also talk with other writers or editors who regularly contribute material; this will help give an insider’s perspective on how things work at that particular publication.

The last thing I recommend doing is asking for guidelines; this is another way of knowing about editorial policy without having to go through all those boring old words yourself!

Try Writing For Magazines That Are Sold At Newsstands First

The first step in getting your first article published is to get a feel for what kind of magazine your work would be best suited for. There are many different kinds of publications that you can try submitting to, but when you’re starting it’s important to keep things simple by limiting yourself to magazines that are sold at newsstands.

This way, if your submission is accepted, there will be no distribution concerns or complicated logistics involved in getting it into the hands of readers. It also means that the publication will share some similarities with other places where articles like yours might appear online like blogs or online magazines themselves!

If we were talking about selling stories instead of selling magazines (which I suppose technically we are), this would be equivalent to finding out who buys stock photos before setting up shop as an aspiring photographer; once again: keep things simple at first!

Write About What You Know And What Interests You Most

The last thing you want to do is write about something that doesn’t interest you or isn’t relevant to your life. You need to be excited about what you are writing for it to come across as genuine. When readers see a writer who has a passion for their subject, they are more likely to trust that writer and engage with the content.

If you aren’t sure where to start with a new topic, ask yourself: What do I love? What am I interested in right now? What am I curious about? How can I incorporate those things into my writing?

Build Strong Relationships With Editors

To get your first publication in a magazine, it’s important to build strong relationships with editors.

To do so:

  • Go out of your way to get to know them and be approachable.
  • Read their work, follow them on social media, and generally be interested in what they have to say.

If you write something good that they might like or if you find an article they wrote or edited that inspired you, tell them! Remember that trust is built through mutual support and appreciation so don’t just expect them to notice what a great writer/person/human being you are without showing some effort yourself!

Mastering the art of selling magazine articles can lead to greater opportunities and recognition. Discover the secrets of successful writers in our article on How to Sell Magazine Articles Like a Professional Writer and learn how to pitch your ideas effectively.


Don’t get discouraged if your first publication doesn’t come easily. Many writers have had to send in hundreds of articles before they got their first piece published. The important thing is to keep trying and keep learning from your mistakes. Don’t forget why you want to write for magazines in the first place, because that passion will carry you through any difficult times!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to explore on getting published in magazines:

Getting Published in Reputable Magazines: Learn valuable insights and tips to increase your chances of getting published in respected magazines.

How to Get Published in a Magazine: Discover practical advice and strategies to break into the world of magazine writing and secure publication opportunities.

Getting Published in a Magazine: Uncover useful tips and techniques to successfully navigate the process of getting your work published in magazines.


How can I increase my chances of getting published in a magazine?

Improving your chances of publication involves honing your writing skills, understanding the magazine’s target audience, and crafting compelling story ideas.

Should I send multiple pitches to the same magazine?

Sending multiple pitches can be acceptable, but make sure each pitch is unique, tailored to the magazine’s guidelines, and offers a fresh perspective.

How do I approach magazine editors?

When contacting magazine editors, be professional, concise, and respectful of their time. Clearly outline your pitch and demonstrate your expertise and relevance to their publication.

What rights do I retain after getting published in a magazine?

Rights can vary, but it’s essential to clarify the terms before publication. Some magazines may buy first rights, while others might accept non-exclusive rights.

How long does it typically take to hear back from a magazine after submitting a query?

Response times can vary widely, but it’s not uncommon to wait several weeks or even a few months for a response. Be patient and follow up professionally if necessary.